TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told an audience gathered at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando Monday that over the next two presidential terms, whoever is leading the nation could be responsible for picking successors for both Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas.
“You can’t really do better than those two,” said DeSantis, who has previously praised both justices numerous times. “They are the gold standard for jurisprudence.”
He said that if the next president appoints someone like Chief Justice John Roberts to replace Thomas “you are actually going to see the court shift to the left.” Alito is 73 years old and Thomas is 74.
DeSantis went further and said that it’s even possible that the next president may appoint successors for both Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Roberts and Sotomayor are both age 68. He made the context clear by then saying that whoever is in the White House could help create a conservative majority on the court that would “last a quarter century.”
During his term, President Joe Biden selected one justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, while former President Donald Trump picked three: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The governor on Tuesday also named conservative appeals court Judge Meredith Sasso to the state’s highest court.
This will mark his seventh appointment to the state high court since he first took office in early 2019, and as a result the court has already shifted firmly to the right.
But this choice is likely to be closely scrutinized because this will be the first one that comes while he is ramping up his presidential campaign. The process used by DeSantis to screen candidates has been very shrouded at times. His official schedule, for example, has not shown that he has met one-on-one with any of the six candidates for the post.
This story first appeared in Florida Playbook. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.
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